Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Getting Inside Their Minds: Motivation

I've been at a workshop for two days, and today I return to the classroom.  I'm thinking about how I'm going to invigorate the momentum, teach to their holiday-time energies (and distractions), and complete the big project we're in the midst of.

Every morning I create the choreography.  I consider weather (indoor or outdoor recess--makes a difference). I consider the time of year (it's the holidays--lots of emotion, late nights, twinkling eyes of anticipation). I consider the learning year (what have we learned so far, and what's next on the agenda).  And, I consider the week so far.

With all that in mind, I'll start the day with quiet reading, then a little recap of the last couple of days. I left assessments for the substitute and corrected the assessments after school so I'll talk about their collective work and results. Next I'll give another assessment, and while children are taking that I'll check in with a few individuals that demonstrated extra need in the assessments or their work online.

We'll bundle up for recess if it's outdoors, and if it's indoors we'll have our recess a bit later with some free-time tech choices (they love that!).  Then we'll work on a light, fun, and colorful tech project for our upcoming culture celebration.

The afternoon will find us in the tech lab participating in the hour of code, then we'll end the day with a drawing-geometry lesson and a story.  This is a good schedule and pacing for re-entry as there's plenty of room to catch-up with children's needs, questions, and project work.

Later in the day we have a team meeting planned to prep for the upcoming grade-wide celebration, to plan for our professional afternoon related to close reading/reading response, and to look forward to the teaching units in the new year.

Every morning I take the time to think through the day and tweak the plan to match the environment, moods, and needs of the class.  I have to arrive at school, however, with the awareness that there's likely to be some unexpected events along the way.  There's always unexpected events at the elementary school--hence, a need to be amoeba-like flexible.

Time to begin the day.